Photography BA (Hons)

About the course


On the Photography degree you are prepared for employment in a range of photographic professions which include commercial, client led practices such as advertising and editorial photography through to documentary photography and personally defined fine art photography, as well as related fields of employment such as production, picture editing, curating and gallery management.

The course encourages you to explore and evolve your own photographic vision and practice through a programme of workshops, seminars, lectures and work experience opportunities. Through a sequence of practical projects, you gain a range of technical skills and professional knowledge. Experimentation and risk-taking are encouraged together with the critical study of photographic histories, theories and contemporary practices.

The photography programme emphasises professionalism and industry relevance. The tutors and visiting lecturers are practising photographers or potential employers from the media industries such as agents, art directors, marketing professionals and curators.

Why choose this course?

  • This Photography degree is designed for those that want to work towards a career as a professional photographer or in related media professions.
  • The degree prepares you for employment in a range of photographic professions.
  • You'll explore and evolve your own photographic vision and practice.
  • Our tutors and visiting lecturers are practising photographers or potential employers.
  • Our student work is increasingly getting recognised within the photographic world. Our industry partners are high profile and recent student work placements include the prestigious photography agency Magnum. In addition, we have a number of interns working for the BBC.
  • View student work on Flickr

Entry requirements...

240 points from GCE A Levels (or equivalent) including a qualification in an art related subject plus GCSE Maths at grade D or above and English Language at grade C or above; Key skills are accepted as equivalent. Selection is based on a portfolio interview, after which you may be required to complete a Foundation Year or Foundation Diploma before progressing to the degree course.

The University also accepts a number of other equivalent qualifications including BTEC, IB and Access courses – to find out more about the requirements for these and  other equivalent qualifications please go to:

Our offer for the International Baccalaureate (IB) is made outside of the UCAS Tariff and is calculated by dividing our tariff point offer by 10 i.e. 280 UCAS points equals 28 IB points.

If you do not have the required level of English for entry, our academic English and foundation courses can help you to achieve this level.

Key staff

Carolyn Lefley
Carolyn is a photographic artist, writer and educator. She has been involved in artist residences in Scotland and exhibitions including Realm, Fictional Spare and Belonging.
Find out more about Carolyn Lefley

Dr Daniel Marques-Sampaio
Lecturer in Cultural and Contextual Studies. His research focuses on the urban experience in contemporary globalised cities.
Find out more about Dr Daniel Marques-Sampaio

David Axelbank
David has worked in the photographic industry since 1993. His editorial and commerical clients include Adidas, The Guardian Magazine, The Gap, Grazia, Sony Pictures Classic, Tate Britain, TimeOut and many more.
Find out more about David Axelbank

Michael Heilgermeir
London based photographer, art director of Misery Connoisseur Magazine and lecturer. His recent publication 'The Nomadic Studio' forms an energetic enquiry into the role of the artist studio.
Find out more about Michael Heilgermeir

Dr Rebecca Thomas
Head of Photography: Rebecca's visual practice involves landscape and the human body's relation to it. Recent group exhibitions include The Geographical Self, Close to Home and Against Lethe.
Find out more about Dr Rebecca Thomas

Study routes

  • Full Time,
  • Part Time, 6 Years
  • Sandwich, 4 Years


  • University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield


Graduates are equipped to pursue a wide variety of careers including self employment as photographers in editorial, advertising, fashion, journalism, publishing; also in allied professions in multimedia, curatorial work, picture research and arts administration. Students might also go on to specialist postgraduate study.

Teaching methods

First Year

Following an induction week, you will learn the core areas of analogue and digital photography and digital image processes. This includes sessions on lighting, shooting in the studio and on location, digital work flow and how to retouch and manipulate images, technical theory and use of the darkroom. This is accompanied by group projects and presentations of studio/ location work. The study of the histories and theories of photography gives you a foundation to your photography practice both in class sessions and through written work.

You complete the first year with an emerging independent photography practice which relates to contemporary professional photography.

Second Year

During year two, you begin to define who you are as a photography practitioner, and to identify your professional goals. You respond to assignments and negotiated projects by considering professional concerns such as markets, audiences, clients and users of the photography industry.

Advanced photography and digital imaging skills are taught through lecture/demonstrations, workshop sessions and studio practice. This stage also introduces and develops your professional awareness and provides an opportunity to experience a 'live' working environment through regular contact with influential professional photographers. There is scope for work experience and study abroad in Europe or further afield.

Final Year

In the final year you develop a professional portfolio of photography with which to launch your career. The portfolio will show your professional versatility by including client led work alongside a self directed work which demonstrates personal vision, media expertise and high professional standards. You also write a dissertation or a report which identifies an area of contemporary professional practice relevant to your work.  

A key part of your final year study is learning how to operate as a freelancer, interact with clients and approach potential employers. This culminates in the presentation of your portfolio in the degree exhibition which is open to invited media industry employers and the public.

Work Placement

There is an opportunity to undertake a work placement in Photography. Previous work placements include Jamie Oliver Better Food Foundation, Nickelodeon, BBC, Magnum, Bauer, IPC, Gallery Stock and St James' Palace.

Study Abroad

This course offers you the opportunity to study abroad through the University's study abroad programme.
Study abroad opportunities are available worldwide and in Europe under the Erasmus+ Programme.
Find out more about Study abroad opportunities

Professional Accreditations

Skillset Media Academy


Year 1

Core Modules

  • Photography: Histories and Cultures

    This module takes a historical perspective to enable students to understand how photography and photographic artefacts are shaped by the social, political, economic, cultural and professional contexts in which they are made. It focuses on the cultural landscape from the 19th to the 21st centuries and the key individuals, artefacts, and practices of photographic production that emerged during this time. Typically the module will include a programme of lectures, seminars, tutorials and exhibition visits which will introduce a series of perspectives on photography that begins with the invention of photography early in the 19th century and concludes with contemporary digital practices. Areas under consideration may include contemporary applications and industrial practices; the photographic medium within the context of visual and media culture; aesthetic practices and genres. Alongside discipline specific knowledge, students will develop skills in information handling and communication, skills in visual and critical analysis of both artefacts and ideas and deploy academic conventions of reference.

  • Experimental Projects

    The practice of photography can be challenged and extended through experimentation, dialogue and debate leading to innovative visual solutions. This module aims to extend the breath and possibilities of the student’s creative photographic practice, involving an imaginative and playful response to themes and concepts, encouraging students to develop research, selection and evaluation techniques. Students will examine a range of practices and the work of various practitioners. The module consists of a series of group workshops, during which the students will become familiar with alternative equipment and media used to create, generate, manipulate and process the visual image. The workshops will cover such activities as alternative darkroom printing, creative digital imaging techniques and moving image work. Research work will be submitted in sketchbooks. During Experimental Projects, some activities will be completed in small teams. This will not only allow students an opportunity to discover the dynamics and conditions of team work, but it will also encourage students to discuss, debate and evaluate their thinking in the pursuit of a single, team based answer.

  • Digital Environment

    This module introduces processes of digital photographic image manipulation and management (such as Adobe Photoshop), together with associated research related to appropriation and debates on concepts of truth and reality, and photographic truth. Students will develop and explore technical skills and associated cognitive skills to formulate and realise responses to given thematic assignments. Students will gain understanding of the cultural resonances and legal obligations inherent within contemporary photographic practices.

  • Photography Practices

    This module introduces concepts and processes of still photographic and digital imagery, together with associated research, selection and evaluation techniques that can support studio and location practice. This is a practice led module using traditional and digital technologies. During your study time you will work with a range of photographic media as well as develop a broad range of photographic craft skills both in the studio and on location. Both film and digital camera workshops are essential to this module. There will be basic introduction sessions to all key equipment, materials and techniques for both film and digital photography, including the safe and effective use of dark rooms and specialist equipment such as lighting technologies. A particular emphasis will be on safe and competent use of workshops and equipment. Ambient and studio light sources will be explored, for technical and aesthetics purposes. The module also introduces you to various genres and practitioners of photography and you will also learn to optimise edit and select your images. Students will develop and explore technical skills and the associated cognitive skills to formulate and realise responses to given thematic briefs. Effective time management is a key element of your work.


Fees & funding

Fees 2016

UK/EU Students

Full time: £9,000 for the 2016 academic year

Part time: If you decide to study this course on a part time basis you will be charged on a modular basis. The cost is £1,125 for each 15-credit module

International Students

Full time: £11,500 for the 2016 academic year

Discounts are available for International students if payment is made in full at registration

View detailed information about tuition fees

Additional course costs

In addition to the fees there are some compulsory course attached to this course:

Year 1
Workshop materials - £150-£250

Year 2
Workshop materials - £250-£350

Year 3
Workshop materials - £250-£350
Professional portfolio for industry - £150-£250

Other financial support

Find out more about other financial support available to UK and EU students

Living costs / accommodation

The University of Hertfordshire offers a great choice of student accommodation, on campus or nearby in the local area, to suit every student budget.

View detailed information about our accommodation

How to apply


Start DateEnd DateLink
29/09/201522/05/2016Apply online (Part Time)
28/09/201520/05/2016Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)


Start DateEnd DateLink
28/09/201620/05/2017Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
26/09/201626/05/2017Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)


Start DateEnd DateLink
25/09/201725/05/2018Apply online (Full Time)